You don’t need any unexpected and unpleasant surprises when you purchase a home. You certainly don’t want to inherit junk the previous owner wants to leave behind.
You want to ensure the house you purchase is in the same condition you chose on the Purchase Agreement before signing the Day of Closing.
Enter the final walkthrough!
Understand what to expect. Know when is final walk-through scheduled and details of what to look for during this crucial step.
- What Is A Final Walk Through?
- When Is A Final Walk Thru Scheduled?
- What To Look For In A Final Walk Through | Walkthrough Checklist
- Final Thoughts
- Related Questions
What Is A Final Walk Through?
The buyer walks through the house and property to ensure it is in the condition they agreed to before signing the final contract. A final walk-through is the last step before signing the closing papers and the keys are turned over for the property.
It is a time when the buyer physically walks through the house for the last time before the final step of signing the closing papers. It allows the buyer to view the home and property to ensure it is in the agreed-upon condition.
Anything can happen between making an offer on a house and signing papers to make it your own.
For instance, a storm could sweep through, leaving the basement flooded or causing a tree to fall on the roof. Pipes could break. Or, the movers could leave behind a big gash on a wall or other damage.
Any agreed-upon contracting work during the first inspection should be done by the time of the final walk through unless otherwise negotiated.
The final walk-through allows the buyer to negotiate any unexpected issues before the final contract is signed.
When Is A Final Walk Thru Scheduled?
Since the walk through has a primary purpose to ensure the house is in the exact condition that both the buyer and seller agreed upon, the ideal timing for it to take place is immediately before signing the final papers and receiving the keys to take possession of the property.
Typically, the seller has already moved out before the final walk through, leaving the property vacant.
What To Look For In A Final Walk Through | Walkthrough Checklist
The final walkthrough is the buyer’s chance to look for anything out of order or red flags you did not agree to in the contract.
Besides looking void of furniture, the structure of the house should look like it did when you decided to purchase it. If you agree on any repairs after the initial inspection, they should now meet your satisfaction.
If it is not, this is the time to make it right before signing the final papers.
Who Attends The Final Walkthrough?
The buyer and the buyer’s agent only attend the final walkthrough. To allow the buyer to inspect everything freely without any pressure, the seller or the seller’s agent is not present.
Your real estate agent should have on-hand documentation of the inspection and any requested repairs. Additionally, your buyer’s agent should have the seller’s disclosure form, the inspection report, and any repair amendments you and the seller agreed on.
Your agent should also have receipts for repairs the seller completed after the home inspection.
If the property is a new build, the contractor or a builder might attend to look for any cosmetic damages or construction defects.
What A Walk Through Is Not?
A walkthrough is not a move-in day. Inviting family members and friends to see the house is not yet time. It is also not time yet to start moving in boxes.
How Much Does a Walkthrough Cost?
There is no additional fee for the final walkthrough.
Walk Through Vs. Home Inspection
Remember that the walkthrough is not the home inspection.
When you get to the walkthrough, the official review and necessary repairs should already be completed. The walkthrough is your time to verify that any issues found during the inspection have now been corrected.
How Long Does The Walkthrough Take?
A final walkthrough could take as little as 15 minutes to more than an hour for a large property. If the home comes with a pool or detached units like a shed or a garage, build in extra time to examine those items, including the pool gate.
Realistically, expect the entire walkthrough to take at least a half hour and maybe more than an hour, but don’t set a time limit. This process is essential and has significant implications for the long term regarding financial well-being.
Don’t rush the process.
Check every nook and cranny before you agree to sign the closing papers and take possession of the keys to open the door to your new home.
Detailed Walk Through Checklist
Follow this helpful Walkthrough Checklist:
Inside The House
- Is the house tidy or broom clean?
- Utilities should be on at the time of the final walkthrough.
- A fixture is an item attached to the home, such as lighting fixtures, mailboxes, or shrubs. Make sure these are all in place.
- A piece of personal property is something that is not attached to the home, like a refrigerator, swing set, etc. Make sure any personal property you and the seller agreed to leave is present and in good working order.
- Ensure the seller has cleared out the home of personal items unless both seller and buyer have previously decided to leave them behind.
- Is there construction debris or trash lying around?
- Make sure the agreed-upon repairs have been properly completed.
- Is the water on and working correctly?
- Are the light fixtures and outlets in place and working well?
- Does the fireplace work well?
- Do you see any damage to the walls, floors, cabinetry, or windows?
- Be on the lookout for unexpected issues like damage from a recent storm, water damage, or any damage left behind by the movers.
- Look around to ensure everything included in the offer is still in the house, such as appliances, fixtures, TV mounts, or other agreed-upon items.
- Confirm all work requested from the initial inspection is completed.
- Test door locks.
- Test faucets to check for leaks.
- Test hot water.
- Make sure all drains are clear and adequately draining.
- Flush the toilets to check for clogs, leaks, and proper working order.
- Look for mold or water damage.
- Check for evidence of inside pests, mouse droppings or sawdust from termites.
- Check doors and windows to make sure they close and lock and are in good condition, not cracked or broken.
- Test all appliances, including the stove burners and oven heating, smell for a potential gas leak, run the washing machine and dryer, run the dishwasher and test the garbage disposal and exhaust fans, and ensure the refrigerator is cold and freezer at proper freezing temperature with no frost. If an intercom system is in place, try it with the doorbell or alarm.
- Make sure all fixtures or anything attached to the home you agreed upon being left is there, including window treatments, window screens, and even toilet paper holders.
- Inspect walls and floors for damage.
- Test the thermostat for heat and air conditioning and inspect the HVAC units and water heater.
Outside The House
- Landscaping care should be up-kept, and grass mowed up to the closing date.
- Check for overgrown trees or heavy tree branches.
- Look for outside damage to garage doors or outbuildings.
- Make sure garage door openers are working correctly.
- Check for debris in the yard.
- Look for damage to the property.
- Check gates and gate latches and locks and test any irrigation systems.
- Look for damage to the mailbox or other signs of damage.
- Look for signs of unwanted pests or uninvited critters.
- If outside items were part of the sale, ensure they are present and in good condition, including storage sheds, landscaping, plants, etc.
What If Something Is Wrong?
Communicate any issues you find as soon s possible. Usually, your findings won’t make or break the whole deal.
But this is your time to negotiate any needed fixes. Depending on the nature of the repair, it could delay the closing date. Sometimes, buyers and sellers negotiate to receive a credit at closing to cover the extra costs instead of waiting to have the repairs made.
The final walkthrough is the last step to assure the buyer that everything is in order before signing the final closing contracts.
Check out some listings for your area and get email notifications. Give me a call to help you
Contact me at (708) 670-6334 to setup a time to answer all your questions.
Do buyers always do a final walkthrough?
Buyers can always opt out of the final walkthrough.
But, the process benefits both the buyer and the seller, so while it’s optional, the process is highly recommended seeing as how the buyer is about to make a massive purchase for which they will be legally and financially responsible.
Foregoing the final walkthrough could mean unwittingly taking on an enormous financial burden while paying for a repair that you already negotiated with the seller to cover.
Can you negotiate after the final walkthrough?
Yes, you can negotiate after the final walkthrough. This time is the right time to raise any last-minute concerns so the seller has an opportunity to make it right and the buyer is purchasing what they agreed to buy.
What is the purpose of a final walkthrough before closing?
The walkthrough’s primary purpose is to ensure the house is in the exact condition that both the buyer and seller agreed on in the Purchase Agreement before the final sale.
If it is not, this is the time to make it right before signing the closing papers.